How does Dialogue celebrate New Year?

As the chapter closes on this year, and we celebrate this magical time of year with our loved ones, Dialogue would firstly like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy start to the New Year.

The way we celebrate the New Year has evolved over the years, but everyone has their own traditions reserved specifically for this special time of celebration, reflection, and anticipation. Before we make some resolutions and try our best to stick to them, let’s find out how some of the Dialogue team see in the New Year. Take a read of what Cathy, Reilly, Ari and Jo have to say about their New Year traditions and how they differ from our UK celebrations. And of course, we’d love to hear how you celebrate too!

How do you traditionally see in the New Year?

CathyLove, love, love New Year – symbolises new starts and positivity. No tradition… Have done lots of different things – from a ball in Vienna to opera in Milan and often a chilly BBQ with fireworks and friends.

Cathy Branson at Dialogue
Cathy Branson - Business Development & Marketing Director

Reilly – Normally, New Year’s Eve will be spent celebrating with family and friends, reflecting and joking about the year that has passed. New Year’s Day is more for a long walk in the nearby countryside, getting plenty of fresh air.

Dan Reilly - Translation Project Manager

Ari – Traditionally, in Italy, we’d have a big meal with friends and family on New Year’s Eve night. This is called veglione or cenone. Every family is different, but there are a couple of traditional things that you are supposed to do for good luck in the new year:

  • Eat lentils (which symbolises money) and cotechino, a sort of big, fatty pork sausage that is a traditional food at this time of the year.
  • Eat white grapes (again, symbolising money for the new year).
  • Kiss someone at midnight (preferably your loved one, but hey, no judgment).
  • Kiss your loved one under the mistletoe.
  • Wear red underwear for good luck.
  • Open a bottle of bubbly at midnight.
  • Watch the midnight fireworks.
  • Eat nuts and clementines, also a sign of money and good luck.
Arianna Esardi - Translation Project Manager

What is the most unique part of your New Year celebrations?

Cathy – We tend to go Italian, as my partner is Italian and we lived out there for years. Italian tradition dictates that seven dried fruit and nuts be eaten for good luck on New Year’s Eve: almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, walnuts, dates, raisins and dried figs. Some also eat pomegranate, its innumerable seeds symbolising fertility and wealth since ancient Roman times.

Reilly – It’s probably not unique to me, more the UK as a whole, but I can’t imagine celebrating the New Year without Jools Holland’s Annual Hootenanny on, at least in the background. It’s always such a festive show and adds to the celebratory atmosphere.

Ari – I guess the most unusual/unique tradition is the red underwear for good luck, although we are probably not the only country to do that. British people are always very surprised when I mention it!

Jo – I write down a list of my wishes (not a “resolution list”) of all the things I want to happen next year. Then I put it in an envelope and I keep it in the drawer until the next New Year’s Eve when I check how many wishes came true within the last 12 months.

Joanna at Dialogue
Joanna Cikorska - Junior Translation Project Manager

How has the way you’ve celebrated New Year in your family evolved over the years?

Cathy – My parents never liked New Year, so it’s gone from nothing to everything!

Reilly – Probably where I spend New Year. It’s always been at ours or a friend’s house. But as the years have passed, I’ve seen New Year as an opportunity to travel and see a different part of the UK. The highlight has to be the New Year spent in Newquay a few years ago. With our traditional New Year’s walk on the beach instead, breathing in the crisp sea air, and having a big portion of chips amidst some gorgeous scenery.

Ari – The biggest change in how I personally celebrate NYE is the mix of Italian and British traditions we now have with my partner. In terms of change over generations, it is now becoming more and more common to go out for cenone and eat at restaurants, while when I was growing up it used to be done almost exclusively at home. Again, every family/group of friends is different and there’s no right or wrong way to celebrate.

Jo – The way I’ve celebrated New Year has changed as I’ve grown up. I still spend that night with friends and/or family, the only difference is that I can celebrate all night, outside the house, and enjoy drinking something other than Piccolo (0% champagne for kids, very popular in Poland) and without parental supervision!

What are the cultural differences you’ve noticed between the UK and your native country when celebrating New Year?

Ari – I think the main difference is how you do not have a big dinner on NYE and then a NYD lunch, only a big lunch on the 1st of January. Singing “Auld lang syne” at midnight and having candied cherries in your glass of spumante is also something that was new for me.

Jo – To be honest, there is not much difference between Poland and the UK. We celebrate New Year among our family and friends. However, I think that in the UK, people prefer to meet in pubs whereas in Poland a house party is more popular. 

Have you ever celebrated New Year in a different country?

Cathy – Sylvester in Wien. I lived for a few years in Vienna and went back about 10 years ago to the New Year’s Vienna ball which was splendid. It was blizzarding as I left at 2am and dragged myself plus ball dress through the snow without shoes on as the heels had gone – coldest feet ever. Then I went to the all-famous New Year’s Day classical concert which we have each year here on BBC2 and nursed the hangover with obligatory fizz!

Reilly – I had the chance to when I had New Year in Frankfurt, Germany, a few years ago. Unfortunately, though, I was too unwell to leave my bed! But it didn’t stop me from partaking in one of the most well-known German New Year traditions, a “Dinner for One” viewing party! 

Ari – Even though I have lived abroad for a few years now, I always try to go back home during the Christmas holidays, and that includes celebrating NY in Italy. Of course, during the pandemic this was not possible, so I got to spend it in the UK with my in-laws and my family here. It was a lovely experience and I found it extremely interesting to see what the differences and the similarities were between the two cultures.

Jo – Yes! Two years ago, just before Covid, I spent New Year’s Eve in Barcelona, and it was an amazing night! New Year’s Eve in Spain was a new experience for me! First, I was shocked at how late people gather with their friends. As the Catalans are very family orientated, those with their family living in Barcelona or in alrededores start the evening with a family dinner and, as the normal time for dinner in Spain is between 9pm and 11 pm, people start joining the party at 11ish so only one hour before the midnight countdown! Speaking of which, it’s not the fireworks that steal the show, but las uvas. According to tradition, when midnight strikes everyone should eat 12 grapes within 60 seconds (12 grapes for 12 months of the year), so that all your dreams come true during the new year. However, that is not as easy to do as it might seem! Then everyone is partying until the crack of dawn in various places in the city – you could start your party in a club, continue it in another, and then end up partying on the beach.


Once again, we wish you all a very happy festive period, and as the Germans say, einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr! Do get in touch to find out how we can support your company and meet your translation and training needs in 2023!

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